So what about free banking?
written by Brian Capon on 16/08/2010Consumer body Which has issued a press release (No such thing as a free bank, says Which) stating that "low credit interest, high overdraft charges and big fees on spending abroad" means that while we may not pay a monthly sum for our current accounts, banking in the UK is not free. Though it is couched in familiar anti-bank language, the release is largely a re-statement of Which's long-held and uncontroversial view. In the UK it is perfectly possible for a customer to use a bank without incurring any additional charges. It is cheaper to bank in the UK than in virtually any other country, where paying for every single item, including a statement and a withdrawal at a cash machine - is normal. In the UK, banking is free for people in credit â€“ and that's about 80 per cent of the population. And for that you get direct debits, standing orders, cash from any Link ATM - even when it's not your bank's - phone and internet banking and many other services. If you need short term credit the rates are reasonable. Saving rates reflect the current economic conditions. If customers use cards abroad they quite reasonably would expect to pay for the currency conversion and commission as the banks where the cards are used charge the banks in the UK. And we are in absolute agreement with Which on their conclusion: that it's important to choose the right account for your own needs. A current account is intended as a payment vehicle, where your salary goes in and you make payments until the next one is received. If you need to go overdrawn, it will be cheaper if you arrange it with your bank first. If you want to save then there are many accounts that offer competitive rates.